MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus
Scarce winter visitor
Seen regularly since 1989. Most recent sightings:
Whilst well down on last year’s record aggregate, 11 birds would have been thought remarkable only a few years ago; all but two were seen in the south. In January, individuals were at Thornton Moor on the 21st and at Cullingworth from the 26th to the 29th, and the only other early record came from Redcar Tarn on 3rd March. Four July records involved a bird here on the 31st, following a 1st-summer at Yeadon Tarn the previous day, as well as another bird at Cullingworth on the 18th, and one which passed Barden Scale on the 23rd. The remaining sightings were all at Thornton Moor: a 2nd-summer on 2nd September, and adults on 21st October, and 6th and 19th November.
The excellent run of records continues, as 13 reports, mostly from Airedale, produced a minimum of 11 different birds. The principal locations were:
Redcar Tarn: A 2nd-winter bird showed well here on 20th February, followed by different adults in July on the 22nd and 30th, and another adult on 5th August.
Farnhill Ings: A 1st-summer present from 25th to 27th June was joined on the latter date by a 2nd-summer bird, which then appeared at nearby Silsden Ings on 2nd July.
Silsden Ings: As well as the above record, adults were seen on 25th July, and 5th August.
Barden: An adult flew past the watchpoint on 26th March, and presumably the same bird was seen displaying to (indifferent!) Black-headed Gulls at Upper Barden Reservoir the day after. Two at the watchpoint on 12th April might also have included this bird. Cullingworth Fields had the final bird: a 1st-winter on 14th October.
The excellent run, which commenced in 2010, continued with 17 reports of 13 different birds, mostly from Airedale. The locations were as follows:
Redcar Tarn: Adult birds were recorded here on 4th January and 28th March. On 26th July, a bird which was seen on a number of occasions, was last reported on the 5th August on Highfield Road Playing Fields . A small bird, presumably a female, was present here on the 9th December.
Cullingworth Fields: Whilst there was a bird at Redcar Tarn, a different adult was located amongst Black-headed Gulls on 30th July. In the following month (24th), a juvenile, moulting into 1st-winter plumage, was noted and on 28th November another adult was found.
Barden: A bird was heard calling at the upper reservoir on 20th April.
Bolton Abbey: A bird seen displaying to a Black-headed Gull was watched on 12th May.
Thornton Moor Reservoir: An adult bird on 4th August.
Lindley Wood Reservoir: A juvenile bird was seen on the evening of 28th August and another bird a month later.
Leeshaw Reservoir: The final sighting was a 2nd-winter bird which flew off to the north-west on 26th December.
There were six reports, all from the same observer, involving single birds at three sites. An adult bird was identified at Swinsty Reservoir on 22nd January and three more adults were seen in the south of the area in October: at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 17th and 24th and at Leeshaw Reservoir on the 28th. Two further Thorton Moor records comprised a 2nd-winter bird on 3rd November and a 1st-winter on the 14th.
Just four records and, as last year they were all from the same observer. Two adult birds were seen on 26th May at Redcar Tarn and a juvenile was at Lower Laithe Reservoir on 23rd July. The other two records involved single adults, both at Cullingworth Fields, in November and December.